Friday, April 30, 2010

Democrat and Chronicle Mentions Fat Ox Ale!

Last week the Democrat and Chronicle mentioned our new Fat Ox Ale!!!

Six Weeks of Want

Gathering The Last of the Food in The Root Cellar

Most people think of springtime as a time of abundance but this was not necessarily the case in the 19th century. At this time of year people were experiencing what has come to be known as "Six Weeks of Want." Produce was still scarce from the garden and the stores from the prior fall were growing slim. The sense of doing without, being in want,would be ever present at this time of year.

Many people foraged to tide them over until June when crops were more plentiful. There were wild greens, onions & garlic. Still left in the garden from the prior fall there might be leeks, turnips, and the perennial, horseradish. Pie plant/rhubarb is the first new growth that would be eaten, followed closely, by asparagus.

Hunting was also scarce at this time as this is the breeding/birthing season for most animals and birds. Spring is a good time for fishing however.
Turnips From the Cellar

As scarce as vegetables were at this time, eggs were once again plentiful, as chickens have begun to lay judiciously after a long winter. Those fortunate enough to have a cow old enough to "freshen" (give birth) would be rewarded with fresh milk at this time.

For the next few weeks we will be featuring recipes that the 19th century home would have relied on until their gardens were more plentiful.

Forced Eggs, Pickled Eggs & Shaker Spiced Salt

This week's receipts for our "Six weeks of want" focus on the bounty of eggs that would be available at this time of year because hens, were once again, laying prodigiously.

Forced Eggs- Hannah Glasse, 1796

2 pounds bulk pork sausage
16 whole hard boiled eggs (peeled)
2 tbsp Pan Drippings
4 tbsp Flour
1/2 tsp Shaker Spiced Salt (see recipe below)
2 C. Boiling Water

Divide sausage meat into 16 portions. Wrap each egg in one portion of sausage, completely covering the egg. Fry in a heavy skillet, until no longer pink. Stir flour into pan drippings. Simmer for 2 minutes while stirring. Add boiling water to dripping & flour mixture. Stir until smooth. Add spiced salt and simmer for a few minutes. Pour gravy into serving dish. Slice eggs lengthwise and lay, yoke side up on top of gravy.

**Author note-These were good the next day cold as well!

"Spiced Salt should always be kept on hand. Use it for seasoning soups, dressings and meats."
-Amy Bess Miller

Shaker Spiced Salt-Adapted from The Best Of Shaker Cooking, by Amy Bess Miller

2 tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cloves
3/8 tsp ginger

Pound all herbs together, with the salt. Store in an airtight container.

Pickled Eggs-Adapted from La Cuisine Creole

Many foods can be pickled, and eggs are no exception. Pickled eggs were considered to be a popular accompaniment to cold meats. Accordingly, farm wives commonly put up several dozen pickled eggs a year, and receipts for them abound using different ingredients like mustard powder, or vinegar that beets have been in, to give fine flavor and color to the item. There is one drawback to preserving your eggs by pickling - they can’t be used any other way!

36 small or medium eggs, hard-boiled -- shells removed
1 quart vinegar -- white or cider
1 tps whole black peppercorns
2 tsp allspice
2 ginger root slices -- 1/4 inch thick
3 whole garlic cloves
4 whole cloves
2 whole bay leaves

"When eggs are abundant and cheap, it is well to pickle some for time of scarcity. Boil three or four dozen eggs for half an hour, let them cool, and take off the shells, and place them in wide-mouthed jars, and pour over them scalding vinegar. Season the vinegar with whole pepper, cloves or allspice, ginger and a few cloves of garlic. When cold, they must be bunged down very close. Let them be well covered with the vinegar, and in a month they will be fit for use. The above pickle is by no means expensive, and as an accompaniment to cold meat is not to be surpassed for piquancy and gout."

****Cook's Note-You may cut down this recipe by 1/2 or 2/3 if you do not want to pickle 36 eggs at a time!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome to the Genesee Country Village & Museum Blog

Welcome to The Official Blog of the Genesee Country Village & Museum, Life in a 19th Century Village.

Opening day is May 15th and we have much in store for you this year with new programs in the Foster-Tufts House, Kieffer's Place, the Romulus Female Seminary, the Davis Opera House & the W. Grieve Brewery where we will be brewing beer for the first time ever!

Please join us on this blog daily to learn about museum programs, features and little known facts as well as an exploration of life in the 19th century.

In addition to that, you can also follow us on Facebook.

We invite you to read and participate in the conversation with us. Please make comments! If you have specific questions related to the museum or 19th century life please feel free to contact us via email on the right hand side. We will be compiling interesting questions into a monthly Q& A column.